Skip to main content

tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  January 12, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EST

6:30 pm
breaking news. haiti has been hit hard by a big earthquake. we'll have the very latest. the fleecing of america. how did this happen? a perfectly modern airport, paid for by your tax dollars with no scheduled flights. no deal. the latest twist in the late night drama. conan o'brien tells nbc he will not do "the tonight show" after jay leno every night. making a difference. a woman giving others the gift she found when she got here." nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
6:31 pm
good evening. we have a developing story, a breaking news story tonight. a major earthquake has hit haiti, to the south and east of the u.s. and cuba. magnitude 7.0, making it the largest quake ever recorded in this region, according to the u.s. geological survey. the epicenter, we are told, very close to the capital city of port-au-prince. >> reporter: a powerful earthquake struck the capital porto prince. a poor and densely populated city of 2.5 million people. the the make will make the destruction more widespread. there are reports of people dead and injured trapped under the
6:32 pm
rubble. a u.s. government official there says the sky is gray with dust, houses have fallen onto a revine. everyone is badly shaken. he hears screaming in the distance. there are reports of people running in the streets with children in their harms. a hospital collapsed. we were able to reach a humanitarian worker with fireside international. >> we have heard from some of our friends that there's been more damage in port-au-prince. it is more of a two-three-story type of a city. we were able to find out a lot of this information, interestingly enough, through the internet in this case, where our phones have failed us. it was facebook and it was twitter and those kinds of social networking tools where we were able to hear some of our friends are okay, but are experiencing and reporting
6:33 pm
damage in port-au-prince. >> it's a difficult place to reach even in the best of times. haiti is one of the poorest nations in the world. the country's ambassador asked for american help. two big aftershocks, 5.5 and 5.9 magnitude. officials predict there will be more aftershocks. there is a local tsunami warning in effect. here in the united states, president obama released a statement saying, "my thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this earthquake. we are closely monitoring the situation and stand ready to assist the people of haiti." a very difficult situation, brian. >> indeed. ron allen getting us started in our new york newsroom, thanks. tomorrow marks the first public meeting of what's called the financial crisis inquiry commission. a panel set up by congress a lot like the 9/11 commission was to get to the bottom of last year's
6:34 pm
financial meltdown. the ceos of the biggest banks will be there just as they are about to reward their employees with what could be some record-breaking bonuses. cnbc's david faber here in washington to cover everything that happens tomorrow is here with us tonight. i heard somebody say today for the banking industry, this is like the start of the old watergate hearings, correct or hyperbole? >> perhaps a bit of hyperbole, but no doubt tomorrow when you have lloyd bank, john mack, jamie dimon and the new ceo of bank america all in front of this commission, there are going to be a lot of questions asked. it may not be quite as combative as sometimes it is in front of congress. this commission will be operating some time, trying to truly get answers as to what underpin that financial collapse that took place in the fall of '008. >> who is the investigator? who is running things here? what will the actual outcome
6:35 pm
likely be for taxpayers who would love to hear answers? >> we won't know the outcome for quite some time. often the case is that final report is far away from when we suffered such a blow in our financial markets. nonetheless, phil angelides from california. we'll see. we may get some deeper understanding of exactly what went on, and there may be some law enforcement that gets involved, as well, down the road if they really do their work. >> david faber, we'll look for your coverage among it tomorrow. thanks for being with us tonight. we switch to a big story. late in the day today involving business and entertainment and what we all watch on television, the still-new host of "the tonight show" conan o'brien told nbc and the wider world today he no longer wants to host "the tonight show" if the show is to air in any other time slot.
6:36 pm
this would seem to clear the way to putting things back where they were, and that would include jay leno presumably. our report tonight from nbc's george lewis in los angeles. >> thank you. >> reporter: monday night's taping of "the tonight show" brought an ovation from conan o'brien's fans. >> please, you keep this up and this monologue won't start until 12:05. >> you never know. you never know what's going to happen. >> reporter: now o'brien has an answer to that question. in a statement released this afternoon, o'brien said, "i seen searly believe delaying "the tonight show" into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what i consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting." >> conan signed a deal with nbc. he would do late night for five more years then be given "the tonight show." i believe he thought he was getting an 11:30 show.
6:37 pm
>> reporter: the next question is will leno whose primetime show was canceled under pressure of nbc affiliates go back to doing his old show at his old time? >> supposedly we are moving to 11:30, even this is not sure. my people are upset, conan's people are upset. nbc wanted drama at 10:00, now they've got it. everybody imad. exactly. >> let me see if i can channel some reason to be angry. >> reporter: and will conan o'brien end up at another network assuming he leaves nbc? >> the major complications are, is he owed a lot of money? >> reporter: in a way it's a rerun of the turmoil that nbc went through in 1992 when johnny carson stepped down as "tonight show" host and leno got the job causing david letterman to bolt to cbs. now conan o'brien is looking for the exit door. no comment so far from the nbc front office. george lewis, nbc news, burbank.
6:38 pm
and continued fallout tonight from the admission heard around the baseball world yesterday. former st. louis cardinals' slugger mark mcgwire's belated acknowledgement he used steroids in the nipts 90s. anne thompson reports. >> i let a lot of people down. >> reporter: emotions overwhelmed mcguire. one point he made very clear -- >> fly ball, left field. >> reporter: steroids did not help him hit 583 home runs for the oak labd a's or st. louis cardinals or break roger marist's single season. >> there is not a pill or injection that will give any athlete the hand-eye coordination to hit a baseball. a pill or 0 injection will not hit a baseball. >> reporter: his skill, he said, came from a higher authority. >> i was given this gift by the
6:39 pm
man upstairs. >> reporter: for ozzy smith, mcguire's answer was a swing and a miss. >> by not owning up to the fact performance-enhancing drugs are a part of what made you successful, that was disappointing. >> reporter: at espnradio in los angeles, the hosts brought heat. >> most normal thinking americans do not buy what he was selling. >> reporter: some listeners were more forgiving. >> mark mcgwire and sammy sosa's chase saved baseball. >> reporter: not the sons of mantle, roger marist's teammate. >> you're doing it for self-gratification and you're doing it for the edge. >> reporter: the edge is more than speeding up recovery time from injuries. doctors say they can make i faster, stronger, even help you see the baseball better. >> if your reaction time is faster because you're able to
6:40 pm
pick the ball up better, then you would have a better accuracy in where you're going to be placing that bat. >> reporter: an edge that can make a great career hall of fame worthy, but can't turn lies into truth. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. and overseas in iran, an actual who-dunnit. an iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated today. as andrea mitchell tells us, the world would like some answers. >> reporter: the iranian nuclear physicist massoud ali mohammadi was killed by a remote-controlled bomb rigged to a motorcycle. ali arouzi describes what happened. >> reporter: there was a motor bike parked outside his house.
6:41 pm
he closed his garage door and the motor bike was blown up killing him instantly. >> reporter: he was known to have support of the opposition before last june's elections. today's students say it was politics. >> he had political idea, as well. he was a critic of the current government. >> reporter: iran accused the u.s. and israel of trying to damage its nuclear program. the u.s. denied it and so did israel. so who did it? iran says the u.s., despite american denials. israel could have done it, one former u.s. intelligence official told nbc, they have the means and the motive. or iran's regime could have killed him for supporting the opposition, or could have suspected him of collaborating with the u.s. or israel. in fact, only two months ago, alley mohammadi attended a scientific meeting organized by the u.n. in jordan, working on a project alongside israeli scientists, possibly arousing
6:42 pm
suspicions back home. >> i think the logic is the iranian government or a group associated with them took this guy out. it's a sign of desperation to kill your own nuclear scientists. >> reporter: tonight spy services around the world are trying to solve this who-dunnit, andrea mitchell, news washington. google said tonight it's considering shutting down operations in china after a cyber attack last month that the company said originated there. google says hackers accessed the e-mail accounts of chinese human rights activists. the company didn't exactly accuse the chinese government of being behind the attack but said it's no longer willing to censure results on the chinese version of the service. when our broadcast continues tonight, a beautiful airport with no scheduled flights and the american people paid for it. our fleecing of america report tonight. and someone who knows a whole lot about making a better life for herself. symptoms kept coming back...
6:43 pm
...kept coming back... ...or that i could help prevent them in the first place. the problem was that my controller medicine... ...was treating only 1 main cause of asthma symptoms. but there are 2. airway constriction. and inflammation. unlike most controllers, advair treats both main causes. advair treats both main causes. and that helps prevent symptoms in the first place. (announcer) advair contains salmeterol. salmeterol may increase the chance of asthma-related death. so advair is not for asthma that's well controlled on another controller medicine. advair will not replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms... ...and should not be taken more than twice a day. talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of advair. if you take advair, see your doctor if your asthma does not improve or gets worse. if you're still having symptoms... ...ask your doctor how to help prevent them with advair. (announcer) get your first prescription free and save on refills. advair. now you know. it's fidelity's guidance -- it shows you ways to spend in retirement that can help your money last, whatever your plans.
6:44 pm
like, if we wanted to travel? husband: or start a business? advisor: yep. wife: or take some classes? sure. or find the best cheeseburger? the line isn't for everything. whatever your destination, fidelity has the people, guidance and investments to help you find your way. walgreens invites you to stay well this new year. ♪ with the centers for disease control and prevention saying... that vaccination is still your best protection, walgreens and take care clinics... now offer h1n1 flu vaccinations... every day at our more than 7000 locations nationwide... for just $18.00. so stop in today. walgreens. there's a way to stay well.
6:45 pm
we are back with the latest in nickel and dime news from the world of the airlines trying to make more money without calling it a fare hike. delta and continental said today they are raising bag fees, $25 for the first checked bag, $35 for the second. there is a small discount if you pay in advance online. as one commentator on the internet put it today, this second bag now costs more than the $29 jetblue charges to fly a human passenger in a seat from ft. lauderdale, florida, to nassau in the bahamas. as you may know this week, we are reviving and old viewer and tax-pair favorite of ours, our series of reports called "the fleecing of america." tonight what many people consider a special outrage, paid for with taxpayer dollars. it's a lovely airport, nicer than a lot we fly into and out of, only there are no scheduled
6:46 pm
flights in or out of this one. how exactly did that happen? we asked our own kevin tibbles to look into it. >> reporter: some call it the glass palace on the prairie. mid america airport, money pit or potential make-maker? nbc news first reported on the airport 12 years ago as a fleecing of america. >> a state-of-the-art airport. brand-new. >> reporter: no passengers, no airlines and a multimillion dollar price tag. >> a colossal waste of taxpayer money. >> reporter: today the tab has grown to $321 million. as a joint operation between st. clair county, illinois, and scott air force base, it was built to relieve congestion at lambert field in nearby st. louis. air traffic failed to grow as predicted, because of 9/11, airline mergers and the recession. it's mid afternoon at mid america's fully-functioning modern terminal. aside from a few employees and
6:47 pm
the camera crew, i am the only one here. analyst michael boyd shakes his head. >> it was based on bad planning to start with, and they are paying a high price for that. >> reporter: a price of $4 million to $5 million a year. >> citizens of st. clair county are tired of putting money into this pit and not seeing a return. >> reporter: the county board president who refuses to be interviewed in the cementy terminal sees it differently. he believes mid america kept scott air force base from closing because its longer runway could accommodate larger military planes. >> when balanced against $2.3 million economic impact scott air force base brings to the region, we believe that is a trade-off worth taking. >> reporter: the air force told nbc that scott was never expected for closure, and that midamerica had nothing to do with the decision to keep it open. now the county has spent $7 million on a refrigerated
6:48 pm
warehouse hoping for international cargo. so far one flight a week, flowers from colombia. >> the regional people here have opportunity for customers directly into latin america they never had before. >> reporter: midamerica airport, diamond in the rough or costly venture that might never get off the ground? kevin tibbles, nbc news, illinois. there is more on this story on our website at tomorrow night here with the price of gold currently sky high, you would think gold mines on public lands would create a windfall for the government, but instead what we are getting looks to a lot of folks looks like a fleecing of america. on wall street today, stocks fell back a bit. the dow was down just under 37 points on the day. when we come back here tonight, what exactly is that streaking across the sky? that was a complete mystery to me. my doctor diagnosed it as fibromyalgia muscle pain and then he recommended lyrica. fibromyalgia is thought to be the result
6:49 pm
of over-active nerves that cause chronic, widespread pain. lyrica is fda-approved to help relieve the unique pain of fibromyalgia. and with less pain, i can do more during my day. how sweet is that? lyrica is not for everyone. tell you doctor about any serious allergic reaction that causes swelling or affects breathing or skin, or changes eyesight including blurry vision or muscle pain with fever or tired feeling. lyrica may cause suicidal thoughts or actions in a very small number of people. some of the most common side effects of lyrica are dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain and swelling of hands and feet. do not drink alcohol while taking lyrica. you should never drive or operate machinery until you know how lyrica affects you. if you think you might have fibromyalgia, ask your doctor about lyrica. you something about osteoporosis you don't already know. it runs in families - my mother has it, and now i have it. so even though i tried to keep my bones strong, it wasn't enough. now, once-monthly boniva is helping me do more.
6:50 pm
it didn't just stop my bone loss. boniva worked with my body to stop and reverse my bone loss. and studies show, after one year on boniva, nine out of ten women stopped and reversed theirs, too. (announcer) don't take boniva if you have low blood calcium, severe kidney disease, or can't sit or stand for at least one hour. follow dosing instructions carefully. stop taking boniva and tell your doctor if you have difficult or painful swallowing, chest pain or severe or continuing heartburn, as these may be signs of serious upper digestive problems. if jaw problems or severe bone, joint, and/or muscle pain develop, tell your doctor. you've got one body and one life, so don't wait. ask your doctor if boniva can help you stop losing and start reversing. (announcer) for a free trial offer call 1-800-4-boniva or visit what's going on? we ordered a gift online and we really need to do something with it... i'm just not sure what... what is it? oh just return it. returning gifts is easier than ever with priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service. if it fits, it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate.
6:51 pm
plus i can pick it up for free. perfect because we have to get that outta this house. c'mon, it's not that... gahh, oh yeah that's gotta go... priority mail flat rate shipping starts at $4.95 only from the postal service. a simpler way to ship and return. there may be a faint light in the sky tomorrow if you know where to look. if if astronomers are all right, we'll be all right. if what they think is a particular type of asteroid is
6:52 pm
going to come within 80,000 miles of earth. in space terms that's close, it's only about 1/3 of the way from here to the moon, but they assure us it won't hit the planet. a lot of new yorkers are just now learning about the loss of a legend. joe rollino lived near the coney island boardwalk. he called himself for years the world's strongest man. he never ate meat, didn't smoke, didn't drink and loved swimming in the atlantic ocean even in the dead of winter. he could lift hundreds of pounds with just one finger, bend quarters with his teeth. he was 104. he died yesterday after being hit by a minivan while crossing the street. it was an accident. the driver was not charged. also tonight the passing of a huge hero and brave woman who risked her life to save others. miep gies, helped to hide ann frank and her family in an attic during the nazi era.
6:53 pm
after her family was arrested and sent to concentration camp, she locked ann's diary away until her father was able to return. she insisted she was just doing what was right. and jean finnegan biden was laid to rest today. the matriarch died last week at the age of 92. at her funeral home in delaware attended by some 700 people, including president obama, the vice president eulogized his mother as a courageous woman with a strong sense of faith and a lasting influence on her family. when we come back tonight, a woman making a difference for others. and it was bad. there's nothing more important than the ones you love, which is why now is the time to protect them and yourself. the h1n1 flu vaccine is available now at cvs/pharmacy and minuteclinic, the walk-in clinic inside select cvs/pharmacies. it's peak flu season, so don't risk it. get vaccinated for h1n1 flu today. to find a location near you, visit, or call...
6:54 pm
if toyota gets credit for being the most fuel efficient car company in america, well, then how do you explain all this? chevy malibu, cobalt, silverado, and the all-new equinox. compare them to anyone. may the best car win. there's new robitussin® to go. in a neat little single dose spoon. liquid medicine already dissolved ready for your body to take in. new robitussin® to go. pure robitussin® relief... to go. when someone in my family gets the flu. fact: advil not only relieves body aches and pains that can come with the flu, it also reduces fever fast.
6:55 pm
relief doesn't get any better than this. advil.
6:56 pm
we are back. it's time for our "making a difference" report which tonight is about refugees and the important work the international rescue committee is doing on their behalf around the world. more than that, it's about one woman, once a refugee herself, now dedicated to helping people rebuild their own lives, as she has done so successfully here in america.
6:57 pm
her story tonight from nbc's ron mott. >> reporter: from a distance, alan naji walk as typical american path, picks up the kids from school and listens to their stories on the way home. shares dinner with the family. but for the 35-year-old native iraqi, the journey here two years ago was quite an ordeal. >> one night i had to take the decision to escape with my children because they threatened to kill me because i was working with the u.s. army. >> reporter: her husband never made it. he was killed in a baghdad bombing, and sparring naji to find freedom in the u.s. >> the united states for me was a far away dream. i wanted to go there i didn't know how. >> reporter: today she is using her know-how to help refugees chart a new course. >> it's a hoard job. case management of newly-arrived refugees requires, people have to be saints.
6:58 pm
you have to have a lot of strength of character, and she has it in triplicate. >> reporter: which explains why she is in perpetual motion. signing them up for english classes, computer training, even making house calls. many refugees start the american dream at the world's busiest airport in atlanta where the sea of unfamiliar faces can be overwhelming. until they spot alan here to welcome them to their new home. for some, she quickly becomes a constant, dependable presence in a rapidly-changing environment. their very first steps in america forward. yet with all she does to help people learn the ropes, she contends it's not nearly enough. >> i want to do more. i want to help people because i know i suffered a lot. >> reporter: a giving spirit that needs no translation. ron mott, nbc news, atlanta. that is our broadcast for this tuesday night. as always, thank you for being
6:59 pm
with us. i'm brian williams reporting tonight from our nbc news washington bureau. we hope you can join us again tomorrow night. good night. -- captions by vitac --